Seller Story: Howard Weinberg, Washington, DC

“We grew up in a little Virginia town with less than 5,000 people and there was one tiny record store. My brothers and I would save up our allowances for weeks and weeks to go buy an album for eight dollars. That’s how much they would overcharge an eight-year-old because they had no competition!

Howard probably should have been a disc jockey, with how much of an audiophile he was. If you wanted to borrow a record from Howard, you couldn’t just come over and borrow a record. Howard was going to have you come over and he would play the record for you on his top-of-the-line turntables with the best quality speakers because he was so obsessed with preserving the collection and in enjoying the sound the way it was meant to be enjoyed. But you weren’t ever allowed to touch those records!

He would buy every pressing that Capitol Records released of The Beatles. He probably has fifteen copies of every Beatles record, not including the bootlegs or pressings from overseas like Japan and Germany. Some of the things like the box sets he collected are very rare. Anything related to The Beatles, he bought. He took great care in protecting these things because he recognized their value, and spent tens of thousands of dollars just purchasing mp3 backups of his vinyl collection so he could further preserve them.

In terms of maintaining his collection, he was obsessive. Every corner of the room was filled with albums in protective casings. When we were going through the collection, it was so deep that you could pull away hundreds of records and there would just be another row of records behind it. We’d come back after a day’s work of going through the collection and it would all be there again, it seemed. So it then became a joke, “Howard’s been back, he was out buying more records!” – Marc Weinberg, Brother

Seller Story: Howard Weinberg, Washington, DC
Seller Story: Howard Weinberg, Washington, DC
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Seller Story: Howard Weinberg, Washington, DC

What was it like record shopping with him?

He could easily spend hours and hours at a record store. Howard would very carefully go through every section, and if there were used records he’d inspect them thoroughly in the light for scratches and blemishes. He’d talk to managers and employees and ask about specific singles, releases and rarities. I brought him to Amoeba Records in Los Angeles where I used to live, and he walked in and looked around and said, “Well, it’s OK but it’s no Plan Nine.”

Is that where he sourced most of his collection?

In Richmond, he loved going to the local record store called Plan Nine. He bought a lot of his records there; new records, used records, imports, everything. Oftentimes, the record stores would buy for Howard. They would place orders for him because they knew he was a serious collector. He would also go to shows and conventions for vinyl collectors, where he picked up a rare copy of Yesterday and Today by The Beatles, notorious for its cover which was almost immediately censored after its release.

What kinds of things was he looking for?

He was focused on finding obscure and unusual releases from The Beatles. Early in their U.S. career, they didn’t sign with one particular label. There are a number of singles released on different labels that were quickly pulled off the shelves after they signed with Capitol. Particularly, “She Loves You” on Swan Records, and promotional singles that were released to radio DJs prior to the record release.

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